My Dear Parishioners,
As we well know, we are living in a different world than the one that existed just a few short weeks ago, and this new world has come with a rather large Cross to bear. As I wrote before, the Coronavirus is a serious threat for the general population and even possibly deadly for those with pre-existing conditions and weaken immune systems. So thankfully, Archbishop Perez has moved to limit people’s exposure to each other by suspending the public celebration of Holy Mass.
To help answer your questions on how we are going to adapt to this new reality, I thought that I would offer some general guidelines that we will be following during this time of crisis:
- PUBLIC CELEBRATION OF SUNDAY AND WEEKDAY MASSES: In accord with the directives of the Office of the Archbishop, the public celebration of these Masses is suspended until further notice.
- MASS INTENTIONS: I will offer private Masses for the intentions of any Public Mass that has been cancelled.
- BAPTISMS: Baptism is necessary for salvation and the gateway to the other sacraments. We WILL continue to administer the Sacrament of Baptism during this period. However, we will be limiting this to one family at a time. Please call the office to schedule or re-schedule your child’s baptism.
- FUNERALS: Burying the dead is a Corporal Work of Mercy and we WILL continue to offer Funeral Masses in church. We ask that families practice Social Distancing during the funeral. However, Visitations and Viewings in the Church are not permitted at this time.
- WEDDINGS AND CONVALIDATIONS: In accord with the Directives of the Office of the Archbishop, Weddings and Blessings of Marriages WILL continue as planned. If you have a wedding or convalidation scheduled, please be in contact with the priest or deacon who has been preparing you. Again, we ask that those attending the ceremony practice Social Distancing.
- CONFESSIONS: I will offer the Sacrament of Confession on Saturday mornings from 8:00 to 8:30 in church and Saturday afternoons from 3:15 to 4:00 PM in the Church. Please practice Social Distancing while waiting to have your Confession heard.
- COMMUNION FOR THE HOMEBOUND: In accord with the directives of the Office of the Archbishop, Communion calls for the homebound are suspended until further notice.
- ANNOINTING OF THE SICK: For those gravely ill or preparing for surgery, the Sacrament of the Sick is always available. Please call the office.
- CONFIRMATION: In accord with the directives of the Office of the Archbishop, the Confirmation scheduled for Tuesday, March 31 has been postponed. The Office of Bishop Martino is waiting for the situation to improve before issuing new dates. As soon as we receive the new date, we will communicate it to the parish.
- FIRST HOLY COMMUNION: The First Holy Communions originally scheduled in April are now postponed to the weekends of May 23-24 & May 30-31. Please contact our Director of Religious Education for more information.
- PALM SUNDAY, HOLY WEEK, AND EASTER SUNDAY: As of yet, there are no directives from the Office of the Archbishop concerning these very popular Liturgies. When they are issued, we will communicate them to the parish.
- FOR PRIVATE PRAYER AND DEVOTION:
- CHAPEL: The Chapel will be open Monday through Friday: 8:00AM to 4:00PM
- CHURCH: The Church will be open:
- Saturday morning 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM.
- Saturday afternoon from 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM.
- Sunday morning from 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM.
- MEETINGS AND PUBLIC EVENTS: In accord with the directives of the Office of the Archbishop, meetings and public events on parish property are suspended until further notice. Unfortunately, this directive also means the cancelation of the Lenten Series and the Friday Stations of the Cross. Please call the parish office with any questions or to re-schedule an event.
- PARISH OFFICE: The office will be staffed during regular business hours, Monday-Friday, 8-4. They will continue to help with Letters of Eligibility and Parish Registrations. Please contact the office by phone or email for the time being.
- CONTRIBUTIONS TO OUR PARISH: Of course, money is tight for many of us right now. However, as a non-profit, we are dependent on your generosity, so please, as much as you can, continue to support our parish and our mission in the community. Contributions can be mailed or made electronically. For electronic giving, please see the “Parish Giving” link on the parish website or call the parish office.
As I have also said, during this time it is just as important to continue to care for our souls as well as our bodies. In order to assist in this, here are some suggestions:
- LENTEN PENANCES: We are still in Lent. The three-fold penances of prayer, fasting and almsgiving in reparation for our sins and the sins of others are a powerful way of feeding and healing our souls.
- CONFESSIONS: I will offer the Sacrament of Confession on Saturday mornings from 8:00 to 8:30 in church and Saturday afternoons from 3:15 to 4:00 in church. Please practice Social Distancing while waiting to have your Confession heard.
- VISITS TO THE BLESSED SACRAMENT: Thankfully, Our Blessed Savior is always waiting for us in the Tabernacle. Please see above for the times when either the church or the chapel will be open.
- HOLY HOUR AT HOME: We can, and really should, set aside quality time to spend with the Lord. During the Holy Hour, we can mediate on the Sacred Scriptures, be inspired by the Lives of the Saints, and/or pray a favorite devotion, such as the Rosary.
- LECTIO DIVINA: A Latin phrase which means “Holy Reading.” Lectio Divina is an ancient way of praying with the Sacred Scriptures. For a beginners guide to Lectio Divina try: https://www.prayerandpossibilities.com/lectio-divina-prayer/
- DAILY EXAMINATION OF CONSCIENCE: These can be easily found on-line and for any walk of life. A Daily Examination gives us an opportunity to thank God for His Goodness and to seek His Divine Helps in areas where we need to grow.
- TELEVISED DAILY and SUNDAY MASSES:
- FAMILY ROSARY
- STATIONS OF THE CROSS: The Stations of the Cross can be prayed privately either in the chapel, in the church, or at home. For those who cannot pray the Stations of the Cross in a chapel or church, the same indulgences can be earned.
- ACTS OF CHARITY: Such as being attentive to our neighbors, especially those with limited mobility. These acts of charity help us to fulfill the Greatest Commandment of all, the Commandment of Love.
- FORMED: Our parish provides this excellent resource to all parishioners at no cost. To set up an account, scroll to the bottom of our web page, clink on the “FORMED.org” link follow the instructions.
These suggestions will help us maintain healthy souls as we eagerly await the return of the most powerful food for the soul: publicly celebrated Masses. Also, let us not lose hope but let us remember that it is only by embracing the Cross that we reach the Glory of the Resurrection. Lastly, let us as a parish continue to join Catholics around the world in praying the Rosary for the end of this crisis and a return to normalcy. May Mary, Health of the Sick, intercede for us.
Fr. Michael J. Pawelko